I have a great leather bag that’s starting to look like it’s enjoyed a few too many long weekends. How can I restore some of its luster? -Robert
A handsome weekender bag is like a motorcyclist’s prized jacket or an outfielder’s lucky glove. Made from leather, they grow with their owners. The material roughens, the stitching loosens — small tears or spots can mark achievements, bar scraps or an unforgettable day at the bluffs. In time, they like a “second skin,” one that we want to keep around for years to come.
Unfortunately, good things rarely last. We asked one of Canada’s leading leather experts, Karl Kowalewski of Roots, for a few tips to help your leather last longer.
Keep It Clean
Be it garment or luggage, high quality leather shouldn’t need any treatment. Naturally water repellant, a brisk walk in a storm should wash off everyday dirt and grime. The best method is simply taking a damp cloth and wiping clean.
Pick a leather conditioner or cream, preferably recommended by the maker. Roots Leather Conditioner is formulated to give shoes, boots, bags and clothes a new lease on life. We mostly use Dubbin for heavier use applications (because our dads did).
Leather stretches out, but not back. If you start to overfill a wallet, it will never really return to its former taut self. The same applies to your bag. If you stretch a leather bag when wet or very humid, it will move even faster. Just learn to carry the right amount, and this takes care of itself.
Don’t wrap it in plastic. Store inside a breathable fabric bag or place it in a dark, cool, closet with a constant temperature and low humidity. Ensure a bit of ventilation to minimize mildew growth.
If you’re feeling like it’s the end of the road for a beloved bag, have a professional assess its condition. There are some things worth holding onto in life, and a good bag is one of them.
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Image courtesy of Roots.